Jazz Beat Podcast

A Jazz and Blues podcast from New England Public Radio’s Tom Reney, the host of the daily Jazz à la Mode radio program for over 30 years.

Subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcasts, or find episodes below.

Duke Ellington, Mahalia Jackson, and George Wein (in polo jersey), 1970, New Orleans
Michael Smith / The Historic New Orleans Collection

Tom Reney looks back at Duke Ellington’s “New Orleans Suite,” and the crucial role that Duke and festival producer George Wein played in the establishment of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which just completed its 49th annual presentation in the Crescent City. Wein’s insistence that any festival he produced would include Ellington, who “stayed only in the finest hotels,” and feature integrated ensembles was a spur to ending rigid segregation practices in New Orleans.

In the latest edition of JazzBeat, Tom Reney explores the legacy of the bassist Scott LaFaro, who was a leading innovator in modern jazz and a member of the Bill Evans Trio. LaFaro was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1961 at age 25, and he’s the subject of an outstanding biography by his sister Helene LaFaro-Fernandez. Tom’s appreciation of LaFaro includes numerous samples of his music.

Jazz Beat - Nat Hentoff

Jan 19, 2017

For JazzBeat 30, Tom Reney pays tribute to Nat Hentoff, who died on January 7 at 91. The Boston-born journalist wrote primarily on First Amendment issues for the Village Voice for 50 years, but was also a renowned jazz critic and historian. In the early 1960s, Hentoff produced an outstanding series of albums for Candid Records by Charles Mingus, Clark Terry, Abbey Lincoln, and blues greats Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Tom’s memorial includes excerpts from some of these, and an overview of Hentoff’s devotion to jazz and principles of free speech.

Bob Dylan
CREATIVE COMMONS

In the latest edition of NEPR's Jazz Beat, Tom Reney highlights the prominence of jazz in Bob Dylan’s memoir, Chronicles, Volume 1, and a critical moment of impact that the music had on the return to form that the Nobel laureate has exhibited since 1997.

Loren Schoenberg
Lynn Redmile @ openingminds / CREATIVE COMMONS

For the latest edition of New England Public Radio's Jazz Beat, Tom Reney speaks with Loren Schoenberg, the founding director and resident scholar at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. The museum has just released the first volume of recordings from the Savory Collection, a treasure trove of jazz recorded off of broadcasts in the 1930s and early ‘40s. Listen here for Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, and other highlights from the collection, and a lively exchange between Loren and Tom.

In this edition of Jazz Beat, NEPR's Tom Reney pays tribute to the jazz legend Phil Woods. The late, great alto saxophonist was born in Springfield, Mass, 85 years ago. This month, Downbeat Magazine announced that Phil has been elected to its Hall of Fame. Listen here for an overview of Woods's career and numerous samples of his great music.

Jazz Beat #26 - Chuck Berry

Oct 19, 2016
Chuck Berry
CREATIVE COMMONS

This edition of Tom Reney’s Jazz Beat podcast looks at Chuck Berry’s place in history as the original rock'n'roller turns 90. Tom features many of Berry's groundbreaking, eternally fresh singles and contemplates what this seemingly simple music says about us as a country.

John Coltrane
CREATIVE COMMONS

John Coltrane, whose 90th birthday is Friday, September 23rd, had a short but episodic career. On the latest edition of JazzBeat, New England Public Radio’s Tom Reney takes a look at an important transition in Coltrane’s life, when he made his final tour with Miles Davis and first began playing soprano saxophone, which was a gift from Miles to the tenor sax-playing icon.

Houston Person
CREATIVE COMMONS

The latest edition of Jazz Beat delivers some great music along with an appreciation of the great jazz saxophonist Houston Person. Person, who frequently plays in Western New England, is an exemplar of why the role of "keeper of the flame" is essential to the tradition and future of jazz.

Benny Golson
CREATIVE COMMONS

On Jazz Beat 23, Tom Reney speaks with Benny Golson about his memoir, Whisper Not: The Autobiography of Benny Golson. In their conversation, Golson vividly recalls the impact of seeing Lionel Hampton’s band with Arnett Cobb when he was 14; the challenge of composing I Remember Clifford for his “friend forever,” Clifford Brown; and his friendship with John Coltrane and other aspects of his Philadelphia boyhood. He expands upon a previously undocumented night when Louis Armstrong sat in with Tadd Dameron’s band in Atlantic City and engaged in a “time battle” with Clifford Brown.

Pages